How to control your privacy settings on AllTrails

A full-color map on the Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar
(Image credit: Michael Hicks / Android Central)

Most fitness apps demand that you give them frequent location access, to better track your progress and share it with your friends. Ideally, you'll inspire one another to work harder; but there's a dark side to these apps that you may not want to think about.

Vice reported that the popular hiking app AllTrails makes your hiking data public and findable on Google by default, which exposed the location data of a top White House official; at the same time, Strava's public policies were exposing the location of secret military bases. 

Beyond the obvious national security concerns that smartphones provide, there's a more commonplace concern: that anyone could use your app data to figure out where you live. So we're starting a series on how to protect your privacy with popular fitness apps, starting with AllTrails. Here's how to make your AllTrails account private, or at least safer. 

How to change your AllTrails privacy settings

1. Either open the AllTrails app or go to

2. In the app, tap the Profile tab, then tap the Settings cog icon in the top-right. Or, on the website, hover over the profile icon in the top-right and click Settings.

3. Under Account, find and select Privacy Settings.

Here, you can change most of your settings to three set options: Public, Followers only, or Ony me. You can change this for the following options:

  • Your community (who you follow, who follows you)
  • Completed trails
  • Custom activities
  • Created or downloaded maps
  • Lists (Activities, trails, and maps you've favorited)

If you choose Followers Only, you may also want to enable Require follow requests in this menu, since this ensures someone can't find you through a mutual friend and start following you without your permission. 

Next, it's important to note that people can search for users and see their profile photo, name, and location by default. So you may want to anonymize this data so you can't be easily found; this will make the app less social, but keep your data more secure.

4. In the app, tap the ... button and select Edit Profile. On the website, simply select Edit Profile. Then you can change your First and Last Name. Hit Save when you're done.

5. In this same view, you'll see your current city under Location or Member Location. Select it and switch to a new default city (you must have one on file). Note that this will change your recommended hikes in "your area." 

6. Tap or click your profile icon and select Browse for photo/ Browse files. This will let you upload a new picture that won't be recognizable.

As a side note, AllTrails has a sync option with Garmin Connect where your Garmin activities appear in AllTrails by default. These imported activities will use the same "default privacy level" as your AllTrails account, even if your Garmin Connect app is set to a different privacy level. So if you use a Garmin watch, ensure there's no discrepancy between the two.

Change your privacy settings for a specific AllTrails activity or map

You may be comfortable with letting your data be publicly available in general but may want to hide a specific activity that, for instance, is close to where you live. In that case, follow these steps:

1a. In the mobile app, tap the Saved tab. You'll find maps under Lists > My maps or Activities under that header name.

1b. On the website, hover over the Profile picture and click Profile. You'll see specific tabs for Maps and Activities.

2. Select the specific map or activity in question. In the app, tap the ... button, then Edit Map/Activity. On the website, select Edit Map/Activity from the left sidebar.

3. You'll find a Privacy level option: change it from public to followers only or private.

How to remove your AllTrails Google Search result

AllTrails doesn't let you disable its Google Search results for your AllTrails results. That's why it's a good idea to change your name in the app, so it's not easily found.

Otherwise, you'll need to ensure that "Only me" is activated in the privacy settings above, especially for your Community. AllTrails says that after you do so, it'll add a "no-index" tag to your account so Google won't find it. This ensures you don't need to worry about changing your name, but also takes away any ability to use AllTrails in a social way.

Lastly, you can find a "Delete Account" option in your Account Settings, if you want to remove all of your AllTrails information for good.

Now that you know how to make your AllTrails account private, you can ensure either no one can see your activity or only those you trust. Your next step should be to do the same with your other favorite running apps, hiking apps, and so on. True "hikes" usually start far away from home, but most people start running straight out of your house, which means a public account is a map to your house.

If you're concerned about location tracking in general, remember that your Android phone is likely tracking you regardless of your app settings. Google has been sued several times in the past year for misleading its users over how much of their location data is saved. So if you ever want to go for a hike (or anywhere) without being tracked, sometimes your best option is just to leave your phone at home

Then again, sometimes hikers will want to have their location tracked in case they're hurt and need help. Devices like the Garmin InReach Messenger use satellite connectivity to do just that. So it's just a matter of your priorities.

Michael L Hicks
Senior Editor, VR/AR and fitness

Michael is Android Central's resident expert on fitness tech and wearables, with an enthusiast's love of VR tech on the side. After years freelancing for Techradar, Wareable, Windows Central, Digital Trends, and other sites on a variety of tech topics, AC has given him the chance to really dive into the topics he's passionate about. He's also a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves D&D, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings.

For wearables, Michael has tested dozens of smartwatches from Garmin, Fitbit, Samsung, Apple, COROS, Polar, Amazfit, and other brands, and will always focus on recommending the best product over the best brand. He's also completed marathons like NYC, SF, Marine Corps, Big Sur, and California International — though he's still trying to break that 4-hour barrier.